Nanina appeared from the window-seat. Brigida, thunderstruck, looked at her in silence for a moment; gasped out, "That girl!"--then stopped again, breathless.
"That girl was at the back of the summer-house this morning, while you and your accomplice were talking together," said the doctor.
D'Arbino had been watching Brigida's face intently from the moment of Nanina's appearance, and had quietly stolen close to her side. This was a fortunate movement; for the doctor's last words were hardly out of his mouth before Brigida seized a heavy ruler lying, with some writing materials, on the table. In another instant, if D'Arbino had not caught her arm, she would have hurled it at Nanina's head.
"You may let go your hold, sir," she said, dropping the ruler, and turning toward D'Arbino with a smile on her white lips and a wicked calmness in her steady eyes. "I can wait for a better opportunity."
With those words she walked to the door; and, turning round there, regarded Nanina fixedly.
"I wish I had been a moment quicker with the ruler," she said, and went out.
"There!" exclaimed the doctor; "I told you I knew how to deal with her as she deserved. One thing I am certainly obliged to her for--she has saved us the trouble of going to her house and forcing her to give up the mask. And now, my child," he continued, addressing Nanina, "you can go home, and one of the men-servants shall see you safe to your own door, in case that woman should still be lurking about the palace. Stop! you are leaving the bag of scudi behind you."
"_She_ would have taken money!" Saying those words, Nanina reddened, and looked toward the door.